RAWALPINDI: An antiterrorism court has sentenced a man to life in prison in a blasphemy case.

Accused Ibtisam Mustafa was handed down the life term for using derogatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was also given 10-year imprisonment on two counts for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of Christians by insulting their religion and religious beliefs.

Judge Shaukat Kamal Dar of the ATC in Rawalpindi sentenced him to a total of 20 years in prison under Section 295-A of Pakistan Penal Code for deliberately “outraging the religious feeling of Christian citizen[s]” by committing contempt of Prophet Jesus, and life term under Section 295-C of the PPC of “uploading pages including words and insultive poem from book” to defile the sacred name of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

ATC judge finds the man guilty of hurting the feelings of Christians as well in rehearing of case

Judge Dar also convicted the convict, a resident of district Chakwal’s tehsil Lawa, under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 and Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on him.

The ATC had convicted him under Section 295-C of the PPC for defiling the sacred name of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in 2019, but the conviction was set aside by the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) that heard appeal against it. The LHC referred back the case to the trial court with the direction to “re-write the judgement within one month”.

The court also asked the ATC to “give finding with regard to acquittal or conviction of the appellant with reference to the offences with which he [Ibtisam] was charged.”

Deputy prosecutor general Tahir Kazim presented evidence before the ATC along with the LHC order. After perusal of the evidence, the judge added the offences of Section 295-A of the PPC against the convict for hurting the feelings of Christians for committing contempt of Prophet Jesus.

According to PPC, the maximum sentences under Section 295-A and 295-C are 10 years in prison and death, respectively.

The same court also convicted five persons of attacking revenue officials and police in district Attock.

Bilal Ahmed, Zahid Nawaz, Khan Zaman, Sartaj Khan, Ahmed Khan and Pervaiz Khan were convicted of attacking the government officials while the latter were auctioning the properties of a proclaimed offender.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2021

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